Monday, January 19, 2009

Move the Geese. Do Not Slaughter Them

There is a bloodlust now for Canadian geese due to their culpability in the crash of the U.S. Airways Flight 1549. Pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger is the hero of this miraculous saga, but the geese are clearly the bad guys. Now some are calling for slaughtering them all, including destroying their eggs and nests. The Center would like to see these magnificient birds captured and relocated. The Port Authority has a wildlife management program. We believe the accent should be on trapping the birds instead of shooting them. There is plenty of room out Long Island to transport and release the geese.

LaGuardia and JFK Airport, working with the Port Authority and the Department of Environmental Protection, could design and implement a model program for itself and other airports nationwide. There have been over 1,000 goose strikes over the past two decades. They are big birds. And if they can bring down an Airbus A320, they need to be adequately managed. But a massive slaughter of these wonderful birds is uncalled for. Maybe Mayor Bloomberg will step up to the plate and work with Governor Patterson to design a state-of-the-art geese management program. We surely do not want any more geese to bring down another aircraft. The stakes are simply too high. We almost needlessly lost 155 people last week. But we can keep the flying public safe while conserving the precisous lives of these magnificient birds.

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